A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department (DOJ) to address whether an even less redacted version of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will be released, following President Donald Trump's recent tweets saying he had authorized the declassification of "any and all documents" relating to the investigation.
Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday asked the federal government to clarify its position on whether Trump's Twitter post would equate to waiving exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act that had been applied to Mueller's report in a case that is seeking an unredacted version of the report.
The plaintiffs in the case—BuzzFeed, its investigative journalist Jason Leopold, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a nonprofit research center—argued that the Twitter post amounts to a waiver of the exemptions. They asked the judge to order the DOJ to reprocess the report in light of "this waiver."
"This should be a simple process that requires no independent analysis or consultation beyond simply reviewing which exemptions were asserted and removing the applicable redactions based solely on which exemption claimed," the plaintiff's lawyer Matthew Topic wrote, adding that the request is made on an emergency basis so that a less-redacted report could be released before the election. Topic also indicated that the DOJ did not agree with the request.
The judge also scheduled a teleconference hearing for Oct. 16 to discuss the claims.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times' request for comment on the order.
The DOJ argued that the redacted information in the report was protected by the privilege because the information was related to “deliberations about charging decisions not to prosecute, which would reveal criminal charges considered but not pursued against certain named individuals under investigation.”
On Wednesday, Ratcliffe announced that he had handed over almost 1,000 pages of materials to the DOJ in response to a request by U.S. Attorney John Durham, the federal prosecutor investigating the conduct of the Russia inquiry by the FBI and other intelligence agencies.